Now, because in each game there is a supposedly
superior team (called "Favorite") and a supposedly
inferior team (called "Underdog") everybody could simply
bet on the favorite all the time, win most of the time, and the
sportsbooks - which have to pay the winnings - would go broke
after a short while. So they make use of a most easy to understand
betting system, called the "Point-Spread".
In the point-spread system, the winning bet is
not determined by which team won the game, but rather by the final
Let's say you just started playing Golf and now
wanted to play against an expert Golf player who is double as good
as you are. You tell him: "Let's play a round. But you win only
if you score double as much as I do." You do this in order to
keep the chances of winning equal, right? If he was three times as
good as you are you would have to say: "You win only if you
score three times as much as I do." Do you get the point?
It's the same with sportsbooks and betting on
sports. Just and simply the same. There is a favorite and an
underdog. And the favorite is being handicapped by the point-spread,
the amount of points it has to score more than the underdog in order
for you to win your bet.
Let's say the Lions are playing the Birds, where the
Lions are 8-point favorites over the Birds. For Lions bettors to
win, the Lions have to win the game by more than 8 points. For Birds
bettors to win, the Birds have to either win the game or lose by
less than 8 points. If the Lions win by exactly 8 points, it's a tie
and all bets are returned.
The home team is always listed second. The point spread is
next to the favorite.
Anyway, the Vikings won the game, 24:17. The difference in
scores is 7. That's less than the point spread, so the Vikings
didn't "cover the spread". The Vikings won the game,
but Vikings bettors lost their bet. Lions bettors won.
The Saint won the game, 20:13. The difference in scores is 7.
That's exactly the point spread. Bets were returned.
The Chargers won the game, 14:12. The underdog (the Chargers)
won the game and covered the spread. Raiders bettors lost their
bet. Chargers bettors won.
Let's say the Lions are playing the Birds again. The
over/under posted score is 45 and the game end with a score of
28:20, which in total is 48. If you bet over you won. If you bet
under you lost.
If you you win, again: you'll get $10 in winnings
for every $11 you wagered.